2023-2024 / LROM0148-1

Sociology of literature


30h Th

Number of credits

 Master in sociology, professional focus in Immigration Studies (Liege - Barcelone: joint-degree programme)3 crédits 
 Master in sociology (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of social sciences)3 crédits 
 Master in French and Romance languages and literatures : general (120 ECTS)5 crédits 


Justine Huppe

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

What can a science of the collective (sociology) bring to an art form where singularity seems to dominate (literature)? Conversely, what kind of resources can literary description offer to a discipline that often relies on rigorous data and protocols?
In this course, conceived as an introduction to the objects, tools and methods of the sociology of literature, we will highlight what a certain number of concepts forged from this discipline ("trajectory", "space of possibilities", "illusio", "sociabilities", "consecration", etc.) make it possible to think about, to complexify or to deconstruct. More precisely, we will start from a certain number of commonplaces that have been maintained for a long time on the literary fact (the image of the solitary genius, the value of the originality or the singularity of the work, the description of reading as a practice of isolation or escape, etc.) in relation to which a sociological approach operates in a critical manner.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

- To be able to define a certain number of notions from the sociology of literature and, above all, to explain to which problems they attempt to answer

- Be able to map the main dividing lines within the field of sociology of literature (differentiate between approaches in terms of "field", "institution" and "world"; situate certain approaches according to whether they are interested in producers, works or readers; understand the oppositions of method between more critical and more comprehensive paradigms)

- To be able to seize a reality not studied in class and show how a sociological notion makes it possible to redefine it or to identify its issues.


Prerequisite knowledge and skills

This course is open to students from both humanities and social sciences. Every effort will be made to ensure that everyone can follow this course, regardless of their theoretical background.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Quadrimestrialized seminar of 2h week 

Recommended or required readings

Compulsory reading:

1) Portfolio of theoretical texts made available

2) One additional literary reading (from a shortlist, suggested during the first sessions of the course)

Students who wish to do so can extend their discovery of the sociology of literature by using a few resources, including:

- Pierre Bourdieu, Les Règles de l'art. Genèse et structure du champ littéraire, Paris, Seuil, 1992.

- Jacques Dubois, L'institution de la littérature (1978), Brussels, Impressions nouvelles, "Espace Nord", 2005; new edition 2019. 

- Jérôme Meizoz, L'Oeil sociologue et la littérature, Geneva, Slatkine, 2004.

- Gisèle Sapiro, La Sociologie de la littérature, Paris, La Découverte, 2014.

- In general, the "Socius" lexicon (http://ressources-socius.info/index.php/lexique ) and the journal COnTEXTES (https://journals.openedition.org/contextes/) are fundamental tools for learning about the main concepts of the sociology of literature.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Additional information:

Examen oral

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The course takes place on Mondays, from 2 to 4 pm. 
The course will resume on Monday 18 September 2023.



Association of one or more MOOCs